Feb 23, 2010
So this story caught my eye this weekend and I am just not really sure how to react.
The Canadian Medical Journal posted an editorial in which the writer criticized Air Canada's allowance of small pets to travel in the cabin of planes as an "unnecessary allergic hazard" The editorial called for a ban on all pets in the cabin of planes.
As you many already know, peanuts are not served on airplanes anymore because the peanut dust would get into the recirculated air of the plane and cause reactions in passengers. This editorial says that pet dander can cause the same sort of problem and could be easily remedied by putting the pets into the cargo hold of the plane.
BUT..that type of response will have some pet owners in an uproar because they fear placing their pets down below where they might experience some dramatic temperature variations. Some other pet owners don't believe that it's very safe either. The good news is that accidents involving pets and airline travel is actually pretty rare. We have a video at the Veterinary News Network that details just how safe this sort of travel really is...
The article goes on to say that about 1 in every 10 people are allergic to dogs or cats. That figure corresponds with an ABC report I read where about 15% of people are allergic to pets. Still, it's hard to imagine that with more than 100 people on every flight and hundreds of flights daily, that this has not come to light sooner. So, is it simply that not enough people fly with their pets in the cabin....or....is it less of an issue than the Canadian doctors are saying?
The final interesting thing to me with this article is a 1998 study published in the New Zealand Medical Journal. This study found cat hair on 100% of the seats sampled on domestic flights. My questions are this: How many seats on each flight were sampled and do New Zealanders really fly with their cats that often??
I think a lot more study needs to be done before we consign all of our pets to the cargo hold. I would love to hear from anyone who has either experienced problems because of a pet in the cabin or who has experienced problems traveling with their pet.